Keep Calm….. and Blog On

Soooooo…. to say its been awhile since I have blogged would seriously be an understatement.  What can I say……life just got busy.  Halloween, birthdays, Christmas, New Years, more birthdays. Then throw in an “almost broken” hard drive that I just didn’t want to deal with…… well you get the picture!  I have decided its finally time to finish our trip blog (after all, some people have been wondering how the flight home went with the little Miss).

So here goes…..

Keep calm

Now lets see just where DID I leave off…..

Day 2: Hop on Hop off bus tour.

It was another HOT cloudless day in Barcelona. We had our usual breakfast at the hotel, and then made our way to our bus stop for day 2 of our bus tour. I made sure that our hats were packed because I was determined to see Barcelona from the TOP of the open air bus.  With our hats (and full sunscreen) on, Barcelona did not disappoint. What amazing buildings! So beautiful with their “movement”, colours, and unique style.  My initial thought was  that we were going to do the full loop on this tour since we didn’t do it the day before, but those thoughts quickly evaporated as we came upon La Pedrera.  I decided in an instant, that it was worthwhile the kiddies got off the bus and saw this building up close and personal.

La Pedrera is just a stunning piece of architecture.  I know that to some people it is more than this, but since this is not something I have ever studied I will take it for what it is…. and that is a beautifully crafted building.  We got off our bus and made our way to the line to buy tickets.  The kiddies were less than thrilled to be waiting in line, so I promised them that there would be a gelato at the end of the “tour”.  As one waits in line, people come up and continually try and “sell” you things.  This one lady who worked at La Pedrera, thought she would inform me of my “tour” choices once in the building….. Ummmmm…. I’m with two kids under age 5.  There will be no 3 hour commentary tour, no 2 hour commentary tour, let alone a 1 hour commentary tour.  We are heading to the roof, with a tiny walk around and then down to the cafe for gelato…. but hey…. thanks for asking!

The walk up to the roof was great.  Brodie and I had a little game going and Syd followed in step for step (except when she wanted to be carried…. really little lady…. its like 100+ degrees).  We finally made it to the roof and we were not disappointed. The views of the city were great (we even saw the landmark Sagrada Familia that we were at the day before).  Brodie really liked the “stone soldiers” at the top, and Syd was just happy to hang with her brother.  We had some great photo ops, and then decided to make our way down for gelato and a much needed coffee.

On the way down they take you through the apartment that Gaudi once lived in.  This was super interesting until Syd saw a wooden rocking horse…. well all HELL broke loose. All she wanted to do was cross the “keep out rope”, and RIDE THAT HORSE from 1892 or when ever it was from! It felt like FOREVER trying to find our way out with a screaming Syd in my arms until a very nice lady told me I could take the lift down!  We made our way to ground level on the lift, but one now needs to walk through the GIFT SHOP to get out of the building…. of course!  I managed to get the kiddies through the gift shop with a small purchase of a “Gaudi 5 sided marker”, and into the cafe in record time.

The cafe was in the La Pedrera building so it was probably one of the most stunning cafes I have ever been to.  We were seated and ordered 2 chocolate gelato and an uber yummy coffee.  I remember thinking while we were sitting in that beautiful cafe, just how fortunate we were to be experiencing this amazing city around us and all it had to offer…… Sydney melt downs and all!

We ended up taking the hop on hop off bus line in the full loop. It was great to see the shopping districts and then make our way back to the hotel.  We got cooled off and chilled out on the “club floor” of the hotel, getting snacks and drinks before meeting up with Mike for a  picnic on the beach.

When we first reserved our hotels for the trip, I remember thinking that the kiddies and I would be at the beach in Barcelona EVERY DAY.  It was so close to the hotel…. I seriously was picturing beach AWESOMENESS.  Other than our first day walk around, we hadn’t been to the beach prior to this evening.  It was fun to bring dinner down with us, but for some reason I just wasn’t having the experience I was hoping for……. my expectations were high, and I guess were just not met.  The beach was busy and it just wasn’t what I had pictured Barcelona beaches to be.  The kiddies did have a TON of fun in the waves.  While Syd was totally apprehensive at first about getting in the water, she finally stripped off all her clothes (of course) and frolicked around with Mike and Brodie.  Brodie was having SO much fun jumping in and trying to ride the waves. I was pretty happy watching all of it unfold with my Nikon in hand, all from the safety of a dry towel, warm sand. We had a lovely evening being together on the beach but that was our one and only time spent on the Barcelona beaches.

It really was a great day…. Barcelona, Beaches, and My Family……seriously…. NOTHING BETTER!

Enjoy your (not so) Daily Dose.

Xox

B.

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Waiting for the tour bus

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Larger than life Usain Bolt

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All the beautiful buildings from our top of the bus view.

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Brodie called this the “Eye Ball” building…. we are watching you!

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Fun, but “hot” bus seats

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La Pedrera

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La Perdrera

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The walk up to the roof top…. Brodie was just a tad bit hot from all the Barcelona sunshine!

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Roof Top Beauty

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Looking towards  Sagrada Familia

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Stairway fun

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Our beautiful cafe/gelato stop

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Ceiling detail in cafe

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Mmmmmm……. Gelato (and amazing coffee), makes everything better!

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Stunning building near our hotel in the Diagonal Mar

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So lovely….. all the white against the blue sky.

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Picnic on the beach

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Syd was having NONE of it……

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Brodie was all in!

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Off comes the clothes

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Now she is loving the waves!

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My Princess…..

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…. with lashes that go on forever!

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Wave riding all evening

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Fun

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Looking down the Barcelona beach towards the W hotel

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Carcassonne. An Amazing Castle, One CRAZY Meltdown, and iPod Shuffle Love!

Caracassonne

We had 2 nights and 3 days in Carcassonne before our next stop.  We arrived later in the afternoon the first day and basically got settled in the room and went for a quick explore of the castle and then for dinner.  We ate at a great restaurant in the castle walls…… Le Saint Jean. We sat outside since

1.) there was room for the kiddies to run around if needed.

2.) there were paths for them to explore between courses.

3.) We were in a FREAKING CASTLE built in like……. 1067AD…. why wouldn’t we sit outside!

Our dinner was great and afterwards (and well into the night) we spent some time exploring different walkways, and the castle wall.

On Friday morning Mike had to go and pick up the road bike  he rented  for his bike race (l’etape du tour) that would be taking place in Pau the following week. He left first thing in the morning as he had a conference call with work and didnt want to disturb the kiddies or I before it was time to wake up. We woke up later than expected due to the AMAZING blackout curtains in the hotel.  The kiddies and I went for breakfast and were joined by the resident pups that lived at the hotel – a chocolate lab, and a hush puppy.

The kiddies and I decided we would head into the castle, check things out, and then head back and pick Mike up around 1:00 for lunch.  When we entered the castle there was a horse drawn carriage that would take you around the castle… both Brodie and Sydney decided that they REALLY wanted to take the tour even though it was all in French. Syd fell in LOVE with the horses, and Brodie wanted to see all around the castle. Sounded like a great plan….. Done.

After the ride, and saying goodbye to the horses, we ventured into the castle to see what goodies we could find.  Syd fell in love with a princess shirt and brodie a knight shirt. We got the appropriate sizes and were making our way out the store when our day completely fell apart….. Brodie started completely loosing his mind over not having a plastic bag to carry his shirt.  I finally got him out of the store crying hysterically, and I decided we would make our way back to the hotel.  I thought the tantrum would pass quickly since it was so out of character for the little man, but I was wrong! The 4 minute walk back to the hotel took us about 20 minutes with Brodie taking tantrum to another level, all while little Syd pretending that she NEVER acts like that, and telling Brodie he should be good….. OMG…… really…… was this happening!

We finally got back to the hotel and Brodie was sent to the kids room.  I sat outside in the sun trying to figure out what the heck happened, all while Syd walked around acting like she would NEVER do that!  UUUUGGGHHHH!  Mike made his entrance a short time later….. to me sitting outside, in the sun, with steam pouring out of my ears, Brodie sulking in his room, and Syd (acting a perfect angel) watching the iPad on the big bed.  Mike finally got Brodie to calm down, and apologize for his behavior.

Round 2:

We made our way BACK to the castle for lunch, and a walk around the castle wall.  We had a great lunch (although I am tiring of looking for pizza and pasta for the kiddies), and a fabulous walk along the castle wall.  The weather was nice so we eventually made our way back to our hotel and the awesome pool. The kids were super happy to be finally swimming and splashing around.  They could spend the entire day in the water if we let them!

We woke the next morning to our travel day to Lourdes….. and what an amazing day it was! There was not a cloud in the sky, and I found it hard to believe that I would ever pull myself away from our hotel and amazing pool!

We had breakfast, and packed up the room.  Mike – the master packer that he is, needed to find room in our “European full size” car that was already packed tight, for the road bike that he rented.  Unbelievable……. but…. the master packer made it work!  I was sooooooo surprised that it all fit given that we were so tight to begin with.  The kiddies had to sit side by side for drive to Lourdes…. it was SUPER tight…. but we all fit!  We spent the morning in the Carcassonne sunshine at the pool, and then around 1:30 we decided to call it a day, and make our way to our next destination.  I wasn`t too bummed about leaving knowing that we had just booked another 2 nights for the return trip en route to Barcelona…… YES…. we would be back at this amazing hotel, in this amazing city, in a week!

The drive to Lourdes was pretty uneventful. We plugged in my ancient iPod Photo (from about 10 years ago), with its 10,000 + songs on it and away we went. The kids watched their shows and then slept part of the way.  It was beautiful to see the landscape change once again. We left dry and arid, almost desert landscape, for green, lush land with rolling hills.  It did surprise me that while I knew we were heading to the Pyrenees Mountains, all I saw was rolling hills…. even when we entered Lourdes (which is only about 30 minutes from the mountains).

Where were the Pyrenees Mountains…… I count wait to find them!

PS. I LOVE my iPod….. on random while driving it came upon one of my all time FAVORITE songs….. Dance Hall Days by Wang Chung.  Now there is an oldie but a goodie. Thank goodness for the random shuffle on the iPod!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

 

Nighttime castle walk

Carriage ride

The kiddies and I

Castle wall walk

Hello Princess

My awesome prince!

Hello Spiderman!

Brodie and Daddys nightly castle adventure

Resident pup #1

Resident pup #2

Our hotel looking from the pool

Hello amazing pool in the Carcassonne sunshine!

Outdoor warm rain shower

Cramped drive to Lourdes

Gotta pay to drive in France!

Traffic jam in Lourdes

Gotta Love the 80s music’e (and my 10 year old iPod!)

Wow – I Actually Just Typed That

Paris days 4-7

So after over a month of hyping up the Egypitian artifacts at the Musse de Louve, I had to dissapoint my little man.  We woke up on Thusday SUPER excited to see all that the egyptian artifacts, but by the time we arrived at the museum the line was HUGE! I honestly didnt think it was worth a 2+hour wait for both kids, in 25 degree C (plus humidity),  just for what could actually be a big only 5 minutes of fun for the little man! I talked with Brodie, and he didnt seem to mind too much, so off to the fountain to float boats we went. I had heard that this was SO MUCH FUN for kids….. well maybe for all of 5 minutes. I totally understood when he said he wanted to return his “pushing the boat stick“. Upon returning the stick the guy said we could come back, free of charge, since we didnt use our full time. This was a really nice gesture on his part…….but the whole ‘boat in the fountain thing’… well……. it was REALLY  boring.  We ended up back at the amusement park with the Wheel of Paris off the Rue de Rivoli and had a great day, naps in the double stroller were involved, and we caught the metro (M1 La Defense) home.

On Friday morning I woke up to receive some sad news about my Oma…… but also to the event that the little lady was turning 3 in Paris. Seriously…… who is lucky enough to turn 3 in Paris! Mike says  ‘all the kids that live here’ (sometimes…… seriously…… he is just too damn logical). Syd REALLY wanted McDonalds for her birthday, so I thought a trip on the Metro to La Defense was in order.  The McDonalds in France is CRAZY.  Not only is it super busy but it is SUPER AWESOME…… Wow….. I cant actually believe I just typed those words. Chef friends…… go easy on me for this one…. remember I have two kids under the age of 6 with me!

Yes…. it was CRAZY busy, but, they had automated machines that you could ‘pre-order and pay for’ (which we did) and then hit a totally differnt line up to pick up your food. Now this is not where the awesomeness ends (still cant believe I am saying this), but they have a ‘salad bar’ which you can order from and build your own salad.  The McCafe, which I am sure equals most places on a quick coffee also offered pain au chocolate, macaroons, and other pastry sweets – seriously….. they looked great!  I ordered a McWrap that was lettuce tomatoes and goat cheese. When I opened the package I was seroiusly happy with what I saw….. the tortilla wasnt this pasty white crap they serve in Canada. There was some real substance, with the nice green leaf lettuce and tomato slices…… hahahahaha…… I  still cant believe I’m writing this about McDonalds – seriously ……. shoot me now!  The little lady turned 3 and was most happy with her birthday lunch……hahahahaha……as was I!

Syd has been so excited by the Eiffel Tower ever since I received a tiny photo magnet  in my stocking from Santa at Christmas. She would randomly talk about the tower and climbing it, going to the center, and to the top. Well we took her to the tower on Friday night to continue celebrating her 3rd birthday.  It was a beautiful warm night in Paris…. and it was a perfect night to climb the tower! We couldnt actually go all the way to the top since one of the elevators was broken and you needed to make a reservation months and months in advance just to get a ticket, so we walked up to the first and second levels, and admired all the views.  We ended up on one of the side streets near the tower for a  birthday celebration dinner and Syd was on cue with her nightly meltdown over absolutely nothing….. sigh!

On Saturday we made our way to Versailles by Metro and RER train.  Me, now being the new“expert“ on navigating the metro and trains, picked our route.  Just when you think you have something down, and you totally understand how it works, you realize that you really are just a visitor to the city and you dont quite know all the ins and outs of the metro system! Well my mistake cost us about 40 EXTRA travel minutes (damn)…. and when they speciffically paint yellow feet  on the pavement saying `shorter trains this way`….. follow those yellow feet… your train is most likely gonna be a `shorter train` and then you wont get caught in the doors are you are lifting the stroller on board (ouch)!

Versailles was so, so busy, but was  breath taking to see in person… unbelieveable actually! I managed to get caught up in another line that I DIDN’T need to be in….. sigh, but thank goodness it was only about 35 min, but unfourtunatlly more time was lost! We finally found our way to the gardens and walked around the whole afternoon admiring the fountains, statues, taking in all the beauty.  We caught a late afternoon snack in the sunshine, before blindly jumping on a train we hoped we were bound for Paris! Our guess paid off and we made it back to our little home in the big city!

The weekend was going to be Mikes only weekend off in Paris with the kiddies so we headed to Trocadero Fountains (euro 2012 fansite – so no fountains for us) for the view of the Eiffel tower. The aquarium is right in the same park so we decided to go as Brodie was super excited to see the sharks swimming around. After the aquarium, Syd finally got her ride on the Carousel of Paris. It is the double decker carousel near the base of the Fountains-Fansite and an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower.  The carousel was so beautiful and every detail was amazing.

We ended our day riding the Batobus floating along the Seine. It is a hop on hop off boat tour along the Seine that stops near 8 major city attractions. We hopped off at the Notre Dame Cathedral for a late afternoon snack, before hopping back on, and finishing our ride past some of the most amazing and iconic architecture and monuments in the world.

It was just another day in Paris…… sigh. I LOVE PARIS!

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Outside the Musee de Louve

Happy BIrthday Little Lady

Our favorite metro line….. the M1

The Grand Arch – La Defense

At the Golden Arch for lunch – La Defense

Automated Order lines

Look who is turning 3

The Metor ride `home`

 

 

The Birthday princess walking down `her` tower

Birthday girl with her `macaroon `birthday cake!

 

Train to Versailles

our shorter train

 

 

 

 

 

A nice spot for an afternoon snack

Syd is LOVING her Pomme Frittes

The end of a busy weekend

 

 

So the ll’s are Silent

English is the only language that I know.

Its not that I wouldn’t love to know another language, its just, with 2 kids, and about a bazillion other things I should be learning for my career, there really isn’t a whole lot of time to spend trying to learn another language just for “fun”.

When we were first threw out the idea of an extended trip to Europe, one of my first thoughts was to sign up for either French or Spanish lessons – both of which would come in handy for the trip. The idea of learning, and being able to speak another language while we were away was something I thought would be super fun (…..terrifying) and beneficial for all of us.

Well the months passed, and I just never got around to sourcing a language class.  I even have a friend that just got her “official translator” designation (www.anythingandnothing.com). She speaks French, English, Spanish – AND she teaches lessons.  Now the thought of having someone I KNOW try and teach me another language – well that was a scary thought in itself. You know…… not being able to hide behind some guy named Johnny, in a classroom, and getting grilled on how to say something in another language…. well that was obviously way too much to think about, let alone do!

So here I sit, 3 weeks away from our trip and only being able to speak English.  I can read a bit of the written French language and muddle my way through, and have some common phrases down in French and Spanish, but my biggest fear (totally unfounded forsure) with a foreign language……. is saying the word incorrectly……

Last week we made Paella to continue on our culinary journey.  While shopping for ingredients I would say Paella phonetically when people asked what I was making……  It wasn’t till a couple of days later, after enjoying the amazingly delicious seafood rice, while talking to a good friend of mine that she made the correction for me.

“You say Pae-yay-yah…. the ll’s are silent….. similar to Tort-i-yah”

Yup….. I feel silly….. probably even turned a shade or two of red!

Mike and I had no mojor language barriers 12 years ago travelling through France….. so hopefully there won’t be any this go around now that we have 2 kids in tow, and are hitting up Spain!

So the ll’s are silent…….good to know.

Damn I find languages frustrating….. I wonder if there is an app on my phone for this!  😉

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

local BC seafood…. so sweet …. so yummy!

My precious!

Paella rice – grown in Spain, specifically for this dish

Rice MEP

Cooking on the BBQ grill for even heat – worked like a charm!

Another de-lish and inexpensive Spanish red

A Big Ol’ Bowl of Magic and a Half Marathon

This past week saw the kiddies get hit hard by a virus. To say it has not been the best week in our house would be an understatement, but I think we have made our way through the worst of it….. well for the kiddies anyway!

I was unsure what to cook for our travels this week.  With everyone either sick or on the verge of being sick, cooking a themed dinner was not high on my list of priorities. It never seems to fail that when you are really looking forward to (not to mention training really hard for) something, a virus or illness always seems to creep into the picture!  It happened to Mike earlier this year when he was to run the “First-Half” Half Marathon, but became so ill he was unable to move.  I don’t think he got out of bed for 3 days!!  So this was my weekend, and it was an important one.  I was to be running in one of my favourite races, the Vancouver Half Marathon……. I was not about to get sick!

As I was going through The Food of Spain cookbook, my initial thought was that a soup would be nice.  Something warm, super easy, yummy. Everyone would feel better!  There were a few different recipes for soup in the book, but the one I kept coming back to was Gazpacho.  It’s not a warm soup, but a cold soup, and its best served really, REALLY, COLD!  The thought of all the raw yummy veggies packed full of vitamins was enough to convince me that this is EXACTLY what our family needed!  I wanted to keep with the Tapas style menu and decided to also make Tortilla….. aka Potato Omelette.

Now I have a Gazpacho recipe that I love.  I have no idea where I got it from……  all I know is its on my computer, in my documents folder, and I LOVE it.  With that said, I am trying to stay pretty authentic in my dinners, so I decided to use a recipe in my cookbook.  The  recipe in the book definitely has fewer vegetables than my recipe, (maybe my recipe is the V-8 version), but the one in the book also has the addition of soaked and puree’d bread.  I was totally intrigued by this, and have since found that I REALLY like this little addition.  The bread gives the soup a real nice texture and richness.  The soup was a pretty delicious, but both the kiddies were uninterested (I think due to them both being sick).  Brodie, managed a few big spoonfuls, while little Syd could only bring herself to try just one bite.  I personally, had a second helping of the soup, and then managed to eat all the leftovers on Saturday.

Now…… I wish I could say yummy and good things about the Tortilla that I made.  The recipe even states “such a simple dish, so difficult to perfect…… The Tortilla is the dish by which to judge a tapas bar.”  Uuummmm ….. OK……so I LIKE things to be PERFECT! I really should have read that and decided to try a different recipe…. that was the red flag waving high in the air for all to see! Did I listen…. no… of course not!

Having made this dish, I honestly can’t wait to try this in an authentic Spanish Tapas Bar.   It is the one dish I thought was sooooooo BORING!  I didn’t like how it looked, and I didn’t like how it tasted. Maybe I didn’t add enough salt, maybe the potatoes were cut to thick…. maybe I just didn’t have a clue what I was doing….. I’m still at a bit of a loss on this one, but in no hurry to make it again! Mike however, seemed to REALLY enjoy it, (eating 2 whole pieces).  Brodie had a few bites….. and little Syd, well she had none!  You can bet that this topic it will pop up again on the blog during our travels through Spain!

I am happy to report that both the kiddies and Mike are on the road to recovery.  It is always tough when the kiddies are sick.  Very often, you wish it was you, and that they didn’t have to go through it…… however…… that was not my thought until Sunday at 10:30am. Race weekend was pretty important and I managed to stay healthy enough to have a pretty decent half marathon finishing in 2:14:54.  It was a beautiful new course, in one FABULOUS city! You really should do it if you haven’t… an amazing run…..you won’t be disappointed!

I have no doubt that my determination in not getting sick played a big part in keeping the virus at bay till after race day, however I also think the Gazpacho played an even bigger part with all the freshly pureed vitamins and minerals!  Well it looks like I now need to make another big batch of Gazpacho….. I am getting pretty hard hit with the same thing the kiddies and Mike had…. time for that big ol’ bowl to work her magic!

Enjoy your Daily Dose.

Xox

B.

Fresh Roma Tomatoes blanched and ready to be peeled.

Soup Garnish

A touch of EVOO and a little S&P to mix it all together

Hello Big Ol’ Bowl of Magic

Not my favourite dish…..

For me…. So yummy!

For MIke…..

One of the worlds most beautiful half marathon courses…. on your “bucket list” it should be!

2:14:54  So FUN!

The “Unintentional” Food Blog

Ok ….. so…….it looks like I am doing an “unintentional” food blog leading up to our European adventure. Ooooops!

This past weekend, after much internal debate, on how I was letting the kids (and myself) down, I decided that I would NOT be doing a themed dinner with the kiddies…..  ugghhhhhh ………seriously…….. the guilt…. this was my goal leading upto the trip!  So with Mike still away on business, I really couldn’t (now you should really read “didn’t want too”) muster the energy to try and pull off  a European themed dinner.

On Friday night, the kiddies and I were lucky enough to be invited to a friends house for dinner.  Tandori chicken was served. India……. Closer to Europe than Canada,  yes……but, alas, not on our trip itinerary so…..

On Saturday we spent the afternoon, and  well into the evening at 3rd beach in Vancouver. So really, “THE ONLY” thing we could do, was order sushi, and do a “pick up” enroute home.  I did however, once we returned home, boil water for a bowl full of edemame, and then added some super nice sea salt, but really, that is where the cooking ended for me on Saturday night.  Sunday night we were with “Grammy”, and cooking once again, was thankfully, out of my hands.

That brings us to today.

Since Mike was landing at YVR in the late afternoon after 10 days in Europe, my thought was, what better way to celebrate him being home, than with a European inspired dinner!

With my culinary training being mostly French, I decided not to stretch my comfort zone too much, and to once again look to France for inspiration.  I decided it was going to be a relatively easy meal….. Quiche Lorraine.   It’s a dish I thought both kids would enjoy, and, you know…..  it’s not overly complicated.  Brodie IS getting more adventurous with food, and Sydney… well she LOVES eggs…. win-win!

Hahahahaha…..

While shopping for the dinner I saw “THE BIGGEST ARTICHOKES” I had ever seen…..I  then proceeded to think of all the hundreds (and hundreds) of itty bitty small artichokes I cleaned over the years working in a professional kitchen for Artichokes Barigoule…. Now don’t be fooled people….. its “super fun”  cleaning 100’s of baby artichokes!….. you really should try it!  😉

At first I didn’t think too much about the artichokes, but then thoughts kept coming back to me and how much they remind me of France!  I do, however, think it’s mostly from photographs and cookbooks…… and not something that I remember from being there in  April 2000 while on my honeymoon.

It was right then I decided that we would have steamed artichokes and lemon butter as our vegetable accompaniment to our Quiche. YAY!  I also picked up some fresh kale as I knew the kiddies would love to help out with the prep for kale chips.

I had the kiddies pick and wash the kale.  They then helped splash the kale with olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt, and placed it on the trays for the chips.  They were in heaven!  I prepped the artichokes and got them steaming as I knew they would take “a long time to steam” given their size.  The quiche was straight forward. Bacon, eggs, heavy cream, salt and pepper…… I decided to add Gruyere Cheese to the recipe even though the “cookbook” I have didn’t call for it…… the “recipe” that I know has cheese, and that was confirmed by many online searches…… just to make sure.

Dinner took a bit longer to bake then expected, so the kiddies ate the entire bowl of kale chips….. YAY!  Once dinner was on the table, Brodie looked intrigued by the steamed artichoke and lemon butter for dipping, as well by the “slice of egg pie” in front of him.  Sydney however, came to the table, and proclaimed with the most “sour” looking face…… “I don’t want that” and with tears in her eyes, she sat on the floor with her “Playmobil” doll house and sulked.

It turns out that Brodie actually LOVES artichokes… I actually think its a “butter and salt” thing, but I am willing to give it to him since he ate over half of the artichoke leaves! Sydney…. well she has no idea on the “awesome-ness” that she is missing out on!  She refused both the Quiche Lorraine, and the steamed artichokes with melted lemon butter…… and not to mention, SALT!  Since she is “THE BIGGEST” salt fiend around,  I know, she will one day be remorseful….. HELLO…….all that SALT!

Quiche Lorraine….. well……she was delightful and super tasty!  Everyone in the family was in agreement except for “Little Syd”…. hopefully next time little lady!

In the  cookbook I have, it states that Quiche Lorraine is traditional dish served it on “May Day” also known as Labour Day.  It is a French National Holiday and will be held on May 1 2012.  Looks like I’m jumping the gun a bit here, but that was “unintentional”….. pretty much like writing a food blog….. hmmmm…….. interesting.

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

Saturday night at Third Beach in Vancouver….. no…. I wasn’t going to cook!

Hello Lorraine!

The “LARGEST” artichokes EVER…. seriously…..no joke.

The “Little Chefs” cooking’ it up!

Fun with Kale!

The makings for our Quiche

Hello Lorraine… nice to “finally” see you!

Simple and delicious…. Steamed Artichokes with Lemon Butter

The little man is LOVING artichoke and I am super happy….  😉

With all the craziness we actually pulled it off……

…… a “themed dinner” that is!

I  wasn’t even sure if we would be able to pull off a “themed dinner” this past weekend as there was much to do……multiple birthday parties to attend, as well Mike had a 12 hour turn around between coming back from working in San Fran and then having to hop on a plane bound for Europe.

Friday night had the kids social calendar filled with the celebration of their friends 3rd birthday (Yay!).  With much socializing to be done, and great food being served, I took it as a sign that the themed dinner could wait a day (Yay!).

Saturday had Brodie and I attending another birthday party and saw Mike back, seated on a plane, bound for Heidelberg Germany, destined for a room at the hotel that we will all call home while we are there in June.

On Saturday, with all that was happening during the day, I definitely would have LOVED to have opted out of the “themed dinners” for one week and call it a sushi night with the kiddies at our favourite spot in Yaletown, but Brodie had a different idea.  At the end of the birthday party Brodie proclaimed that he wanted to make “homemade pizza”. OMG….. really….. I just wanted a menu plopped down in front of me knowing that both kiddies would have tummies full of sushi and no dishes to wash or kitchen to clean up.

With that said, after the party Brodie and I  made our way to the grocery store to purchase a few nessecities for the pizza. The whole time I was thinking…. “Pizza… but how does that fit into our themed nights of Gremany, France, and Spain, this trip does not include Italy….. Uuuggghhhh!”

Thats when my “aaaahhhhhh” moment happened! During my days in a professional kitchen, I was fortunate enough to work with a pretty awesome French Chef (Fabrice Rossman), at the Four Seasons in Vancouver.  One of the first dishes he put on the lounge menu when he took over as Executive Chef was Tarte Flambée…. an Alsatian version of Pizza!  Ha…. I could totally do pizza, and have us stay with our “themed night” after all.  I was super stoked!

I found it pretty funny that I actually had all of the ingredients at home for Tarte Flambée, all  while picking up the nesecities for Brodies and Sydneys pepperoni pizza (ironic…. no?).  Brodie and I  then made our way home to get started on the dough.  If its one thing Brodie likes to make …. its dough!  He loves the flour, rolling it out, and then creating little dough balls that he can come back to after a bit of time has passed to report “Look Mom ….. look how big its gotten because of the yeast” and then give the balls a good “smush” and start again.  Gottta love the little man!

I prepped the caramelized onions, rendered the lardon, got the cheese ready, and picked the thyme leaves for my tarte, all while Brodie rolled out his pizza shell and dressed his pizza with pepperoni and shredded mozzarella (we did the same for little Syd…. her FAVOURITE!).  It  looks like Brodie wanted to visit Italy and not France this past weekend……. well thats for ANOTHER trip “little Chef”!

I was really happy with how my Tarte Flambée turned out.  Not only was I super excited to keep with our weekly themed dinners, but the whole time making the “pizza” I thought about my career as a Chef, and all the Chefs, Sous Chefs, and fellow cooks that I looked upto, and what an impact they all have had on my life. I tell you it is nothing short of complete awesomeness!

The Tarte Flambée was amazing, super tasty…. something I think Chef Rossman, Chef Knaubert and Chef Bain would have been happy with……the flavour was super delicious  and I was in heaven. YUMMERS!  Brodie… ha……well….. not so much. He took a bite (and swallowed), then proclaimed it “wasn’t for him”, and that he “didn’t like it”.  I’m still so proud of the little man for trying something new and interesting.  Syd…… well……. she is still a “work in progress”. She didn’t even eat the pepperoni pizza offered to her let alone the Tarte Flambée. Looks like I really need to get farther into my book “French Kids eat Everything”……that is my goal for this week!

So I guess our family weekly themed dinners have turned out to be so much more than just a “themed” dinner after all. Funny how Brodie’s request for “pizza” actually turned into a night of refection and MY 10 year career as a professional Chef (and everyone involved in my journey).  There are sooooooo many Chefs to thank…… they are all so amazing (you all know who you are and the impact you had on my career!).  I am so proud of my time spent professionally cooking, and the people that I was so fortunate to have met and learned from.  So glad that I can now call you all friends……  Wow…… so freaking AMAZING …..you all totally ROCK and I so love it!

I love how this whole night turned out with Brodie asking for  “Homemade Pizza”

Enjoy your Daily Dose

Xox

B.

The “little Chef” at work

The “littlest Chef” getting in on the action

My Tarte Flambée